Over the hump…..

Posted on July 18, 2011. Filed under: bike, cycle, Half ironman, ironman, ironman regensburg, phelps, regensburg, Rory, run, shakey, Sky Procycling, swim, Team Sky, triathlon, Uncategorized, wetsuit |

With only three weeks to go now and with the hardest training weeks behind me I feel like I have metaphorically gone “over the hump”.  There is still a lot to be done in the coming weeks to keep everything ticking over and to try to stay something like an ideal race weight (to be honest that boat has long since sailed but I am now concentrating on damage limitation as I reduce the volume of training).  The last week of training didn’t go well and in almost 9 months of training I actually let work interfere for the first time last week and lost a couple of key sessions.  I flew to London on what is known as the “red eye” on Thursday morning and didn’t get home until after 10 on Friday – when my alarm went off at 530am I snoozed it and then when it went off again at 7 I got up, got a handful of vitamin C, downed it and went back to bed.  Fatigue and the immune system can be a killer at this stage of the journey so instead of heading out for a 7 hour cycle in the persisting rain while knackered I took some unplanned rest.


A bit unintentionally I seem to have a collection of pictures for this blog post that just make me smile.  I can’t really think why I don’t have any interesting pictures of bikes in interesting places so instead I have pictures of people (mainly my boy) and monkeys (just funny).

Shakey contemplates a witty first line for her race report

As a starter, this is not just a gratuitous picture of a monkey.  For sheer digital dexterity, this macaque that managed to take it’s own picture with a stolen camera deserves some space on my blog.  However, from one talented hairy monkey with opposable thumbs to another.  This monkey represents my training partner Shakey (you could tell from the sunburnt legs in the last post she would be hirstute!) who promised me a race report from the half ironman weekend before she disappeared on holiday with the Maltesers.  Like much of the time I spend with Shakey I would have been as well asking the monkey for a race report.  I now like to call this monkey Shakey.


Speaking of Shakey, after the long haul last weekend we managed to get one 6mile lunchtime jog in before she went off to Malta to try and even up her sunburn lines.  It was pretty hard going on tired old legs but it was reasssuring for me that I could get back on the horse after a long distance effort and without much recovery time.  I followed that up with a long run along the Thames on Friday morning where I spent 3.5miles running out towards Richmond saying hello to everyone I passed with absolutely no reaction back and then on the run back east I was fully expecting to be arrested for being too jolly at 6am.  I always thought it was a myth but there is a real north/south divide that I haven’t seen in any of the other cities whose pavements I have pounded.  Having said that it might just have been me as the two gentlemen in suits canoodling on a park bench in Twickenham seem to be quite friendly towards each other.  Get a room boys – it might be 6am but you’re not invisible!

Right Roar, another couple of lengths backstroke and then we're done

Last week was a hard swimming week with two 4k swims which I am pretty sure are the longest swims that I have done since I retired from competitive swimming when I was 18.  For the avoidance of doubt, I can confirm that 4k is quite a long way.  I don’t have any pictures of me swimming (that’s not strictly true actually – I don’t have any pictures of me swimming that I would post on the internet) however the next Olympian in the family was caught in action in deep water over the weekend.

It turns out that when we stay at the flat the designer stainless steel kitchen sink is a useful bath cum commonwealth pool substitute.  Oh, how our lifestyle has changed with young Phelps swimming lengths of the kitchen and using the dining room table as a changing room!


However, his Ironman aspirations haven’t ended just with the swim leg. Rory apparently has been enjoying the fantasy July that I aspire to – sitting in his bouncy chair watching the live coverage of the Tour de France.  If he could walk he would probably makes his way to the fridge, find the coldest Kronenbourg in there and sit right back down to cheer on Team Sky.  It seems though that having watched all of the cyclists he fancied his own pair of Oakleys in anticipation of getting a bike.  I know there is a serious reason for them but baby shades just make me laugh and laugh.  They’re a bit like dressing your dog up in a santa suit!


With the end of heavy training also came the session that I dread – an hour long deep tissue massage.  Now the theory here is that that masseur sorts out all the muscle damage that has been done in training and reprogrammes the muscles.  In the past I have seen Merell the 5 foot power house but because I could only go on Sunday I had an appointment with Pavel.  Just from his name I should have known that I would suffer some brutal eastern european torture but I wasn’t quite prepared for his persistence in removing troublesome knots in my muscles.  Normally, Merell concentrates on my legs at my request but I think Pavel played dumb with his English, spotted a weakness and went for it.  I haven’t had my top half massaged since I had shoulder reconstruction surgery in November for two reasons – firstly, as a swimmer I can work round injuries in my shoulders quite effectively and secondly, and most importantly because Iknew it would hurt like hell.  And so it did – I like to think (because it is a fact) that I have quite a high pain threshold, however, when massaged or getting physio my reaction to muscle trauma is to sweat (my last physio told me that is quite a common reaction).  Sunday afternoon was certainly warm but when I saw pooling sweat on the floor underneath the hole in the massage table streaming off the tip of my nose I had to tell Pavel to get his pokey sausage fingers out from underneath my shoulder blade tout de suite.  Even now over 24hours later I keep waiting for the bruising to appear from some of his more brutal therapies.

Mmmmmh, bikes

After I was finished I sent Pam in to see Pavel as she has been suffering from a bad back and if nothing else this would give her some new pains to concentrate on.  This gave me and the boy the opportunity to chill out in Stockbridge.  I’m not sure why but he insisted in popping into a bike shop before we went to Starbucks for a coffee.  We wandered around for a while and Rory pointed out the bikes that he might like for Christmas.  He said that it is never too early to get one as the price of carbon fibre might shoot up at any time.  It turns out that he quite likes hinging oot with dad in bike shops.

Anyway, the next 3 weeks may see more blog posts as I try to fill the hours that have suddenly appeared in my schedule as I taper towards the race.  Or indeed I may not post at all as I find something else to fill my time.  Sometime before I turn 40 we may even see a race report from Shakey or I may go to the zoo with an ipad and give it to a Monkey to do a blog.
Three weeks to go!

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